Thursday, February 12, 2009

Monkeying Around?

Here's a bunch of monkeys that would probably tear up your house if you let them.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Princess, we know the real secret to stronger relationships

Hey Princess, have you noticed how popular relationship advice has gotten lately?

I just saw some guy on TBN talking real fast, acting silly, discussing how to improve our relationship.

Last night, I happened to turn on the radio and someone was talking about improving marriages and the such. You know these people are selling a book. We should write a book, too.

Here's a working title I've come up with: "Our Relationship Worked So Much Better Once We Could Talk To Each Other."

Once we do have the option of sitting down and talking to each other, we can hammer out the details and come up with an outline. The basic premise could be that 100 percent of relationships improve drastically once the people can actually sit down and have a conversation on a consistent basis.

All these people have all this other advice, like how I should adore you in private, and how you should respect me even before I earn it...how you really need to understand what makes me tick as a man and I need to really know your inner needs as a woman.

Hogwash! They are leaving out the best piece of advice of all: Once two people in a relationship can talk on a regular basis, sharing their deepest thoughts and information with each other, it will completely revolutionize their love life like nothing you can imagine!

This will work 100 percent of the time, I would venture to guess. We could do some informal research and get anecdotal evidence from couples who couldn't talk to each other while still trying to build a relationship.

We could sell books and have seminars, traveling the country to share the importance of talking. We really would have a corner on the relationship advice market, because we know that sometimes our circumstances don't allow us to talk to one another, right? And talking is the most important thing.

These others could be sharing silly advice like you need to know my love language, when all the time we have the real secret! It's talking! We'll have millions of people running home from our meetings wanting to have a nice long talk with their spouse. It'll be fantastic!

If you are a person reading this today and you want to strengthen your relationship, here is the best piece of advice you will ever get: Talk. Listen. Communicate.

Even if you have disagreements sometimes, even if he's from Mars or she's from Venus, even if she leaves stuff on the floor and he leaves a mess in the bathroom, even if he wants to be honored and respected and she just wants to be loved and nurtured, none of that is really important if you simply have the ability to talk to each other.

Honey, that book is going to fly off the shelves. And no one better steal our idea. Hang in there girl.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Bigger The Devil, The Higher Your Level

Do you find yourself in a difficult situation today? Do you have to trust God because that's the only option you have left?

You're right where your Father does his best work.

If you are a believer, the word says your steps are ordered of the Lord (Prov. 16:9). Every life experience, every situation you find yourself in, and every valley you walk through has a divine purpose. You are stepping closer and closer to your destiny in Christ.

Your good God doesn't bring hurtful situations into your life...that's what the enemy does. However, God loves you too much to allow you to suffer through a tough time without it benefiting you in the long run.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).

Don't the difficult times seem easier to face when you know God is using that period to stretch you, purify you, and develop your faith?

Doesn't each victory seem sweeter knowing that he is teaching you to win with greater grace, so he can bring you to the next level of victory and the deeper walk with him that awaits you there?

I heard a great man of God once discussing difficult situations. He said the place of victory God prepares for each us is in direct proportion to the valley we have to walk through getting there. He described it aptly by saying, "The bigger the devil, the higher your level."

In other words, the more painful, disappointing, adverse or challenging you find your circumstances today, the greater your victory when you emerge on the other side.

The greater the battle, the greater the anointing.

The bigger the opposition, the more wonderful the promise.

Consider Joseph. This is a man God had chosen and given great dreams of his incredible future. However, those dreams of a victorious future preceded a whirlwind of disappointments and challenges that would have caused most of us to seriously doubt God's hand in our life. His brothers sold him into slavery because of their jealousy. He was sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit.

In actuality, God was using those situations to prepare Joseph's character and faith for the immense blessing of leadership that awaited him.

David is another man of God who saw his fair share of difficulties, many of which were caused by his poor choices. However, he never let the praises of God leave his mouth. He knew each challenge just brought him closer to his Father. He knew the Lord would bring him out with the victory, every single time.

David wrote: "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress..." (Psalm 4:1).

God used those difficult times to enlarge David's faith, build his character, and force him to rely in a greater way on his God. Let's face it, if we only found ourselves in situations we could handle or explain, we'd never have to trust him. Our faith would never develop.

I'm sure when these great men of God were in their personal pit, suffering and desperately calling out to God for help, they wondered what was happening to them. We have the benefit of knowing the end of each of these stories.

While God didn't cause the negative situations in their lives, he used those circumstances to carefully construct the powerful men of faith the Lord needed for their divine destinies to come to pass.

No matter what challenge you face today, God has already written the final page of your story. Your story doesn't end with the dark pit your may find yourself in now. Your story ends in victory, with God doing exceedingly and abundantly more than you can ask or imagine in your life (Eph. 3:20).

Your God only raises up winners, and you are one of his kids. His favor surrounds you like a shield (Psalm 5:12), and he rewards those who diligently seek after him (Heb. 11:6).

Rejoice, no matter where you find yourself today. Your victory was purchased 2000 years ago on a hill called Calvary. Praise him in advance for the victory he has already promised you in his word.

Today, he is calling you to run to the only safe place that truly exists...right into the arms of your Heavenly Daddy. Remember, the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe (Prov. 18:10).

Being safe in his arms, use this period to feed on his word, build up your prayer life and trust him even when you feel your life is in disarray.

He is bringing you out with a greater love, a greater confidence, and a greater resolve to see his destiny fulfilled in you than ever before.

Maintain your praise. Thank him continually for his goodness in your life. Don't focus on the battle and its challenges, focus of your loving God and his supernatural ability.

He will do what he must to get you where he needs you. But once you are there, look out! His goodness is right around the corner and his blessings are chasing you down.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

God Already Has Your Ice Cream Cone

I sat with a friend and his young son, Jeremiah, at a local restaurant. My friend and I had already finished eating and were talking about the Rockets, as Jeremiah paid close attention to everything in the restaurant but the meat on his plate.

Dad kept reminding the child that he still needed to finish his lunch. Each time he was spoken to, Jeremiah would briefly return to his food, but after a small bite he'd go back to playing with the salt shaker or giggling with the child seated behind him.

Finally, dad spoke what seemed to be the magic words: "Jeremiah, if you don't finish that meat, I'm not going to buy you an ice cream cone."

The meat suddenly became the most important item in the room.

Jeremiah would take a bite or two and stay focused until he seemingly forgot what his dad had just spoken to him. Three minutes later, with half his lunch still uneaten, Jeremiah's attention returned to the hustle and bustle of his environment.

Frustrated but determined, my friend went to the counter and got his son an ice cream cone, which sat melting on the table in front of him until every bite of the meat had disappeared from the youngster's plate.

"That's how I see you," God's still small voice spoke very clearly inside of me.

Perplexed, I looked at this cute little kid with melted ice cream smeared all over his face and dripping down the front of his t-shirt. And I realized, in amazement, that God had just used this child and his dad to illustrate a very important point to me.

Our heavenly daddy is no different! He has given us a book of promises and they all sit on the table. Our ice cream cone sits before us, waiting for the moment in which we have done what he has required, feeding on his word and nourishing ourselves so he can gleefully give us the treat we've been so eagerly waiting for.

Our Father is gracious and giving by nature. Jesus said it this way: "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matt. 7:11)

At times, aren't we just like Jeremiah? How often has God placed his goodness before us, and staying focused and persevering becomes such a challenge we can't see the answered prayer that is literally right within our grasp?

Paul recognized that staying focused on the desired outcome would empower us to stay faithful to the course. "Let us not grow weary in doing good," he wrote, "for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Gal. 6:9).

We know that the only way Jesus got through the misery of the cross was to focus on the end result. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that "for the joy set before him he endured the cross."

Sometimes we just need to keep our eyes on the prize.

The answer to our prayer and the fulfillment of our deepest dreams and longings are all available to us, once we stay focused on the task at hand. Then, he promises to pour out his goodness in a manner that is greater than we can ask or imagine.

We have to finish our meat, so to speak. Sometimes we may not feel hungry anymore. Sometimes the cares of life will distract us. Sometimes the lies of the enemy will replace the promises God has provided us in his word.

The author of Hebrews wrote, "We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised" (Heb. 6:12).

Keep in mind, if we do our part and stay focused and obedient, his word cannot fail.

For Jeremiah that day, it was an ice cream cone. What are the desires of your heart today?

Lift up your hands and praise the living God. He's placed them on the table before you.